U.S. Department of the Interior

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For More Information:

Ken Eltschlager
Mining/Explosives Engineer
(412) 937-2169

Contact OSMRE


Blaster Certificate Training and Experience

Blaster Certificate Training

The applicant for certification must have received on-the-job training, completed a training course, and obtained satisfactory evidence of having completed classroom training. The training should include diverse mix of blasting products, blast design, field experiences, blast monitoring and regulatory issues, some of these are listed in Table 1 below.

  • Table 1. Potential on-the-job Training Activities
    • On-the-Job Training Activities List
      Blast site management Adverse affects control (seismology, acoustics, fumes)
      Different explosives products Blasting seismograph use
      Different initiation systems Calculations
      Blast design Flyrock control
      Site preparation Record keeping
      Borehole loading Regulations
      Geology evaluation Public Relations
      Blast plan development Software use
      Blast area determination Importance of spatial relations
      Inventory tracking Blast record completion
      Blast hole drilling Crew training
      Recognizing unique conditions Handle misfires
      Explosives storage Safety procedures
      Explosive transportation Preblast surveys

On-The-Job Training (experience)

Success of the applicant is strongly dependant on the level and quality of on-the-job training provided by another certified blaster, i.e. the mentor. Without this valuable guidance the applicant will not adequately learn the technical nuances and safety protocols of the trade. An apprentice that obtains a wide variety of experiences in many geologic conditions has the best chance of passing the examination.

Classroom Training and Duration

The blaster must have adequate classroom training along with the hands-on experience. Classroom training should cover the technical aspects of blasting operations and State and Federal laws governing the storage, transportation and use of explosives, including the topics specified in Table 2 below. In order to cover all the subjects listed in Table 2, sufficient time should be given to present the course material and to allow the students to have enough time to practice solving problems. Considering the wide range of topics to be covered, a minimum 32-hour classroom training session over the course of many weeks is recommended. The OSMRE Blaster’s Training Modules are available to help applicants prepare for formal training and testing.

  • Table 2. Classroom training topics, examination subjects and question distribution
    • 30 CFR 850.13 Subject Technical Regulatory
      1(i) Explosives – selection of type to be used 3
      1(ii) Explosives – determination of the properties which will produce desired results at an acceptable level of risk 3
      1(iii) Explosives – handling, transportation, and storage 2
      2(i) Blast designs – geologic and topographic considerations 5
      2(ii) Blast designs – design of a blast hole, with critical dimensions 8
      2(iii) Blast designs – pattern design, field layout, and timing of blast holes 6
      2(iv) Blast designs – field applications 8
      3 Loading blastholes, including priming and boostering 5
      4 Initiation systems and blasting machines 6
      5 Blasting vibrations, airblast, and flyrock 3
      5(i) Blasting vibrations, airblast, and flyrock – monitoring techniques 3
      5(ii) Blasting vibrations, airblast, and flyrock – methods to control adverse affects 7
      6 Secondary blasting applications 1
      7 Current Federal and State rules applicable to the use of explosives 3
      8 Blast records 7
      9 Schedules 2
      10 Preblasting surveys 1
      10(i) Preblasting surveys – availability 1
      10(ii) Preblasting surveys – coverage 1
      10(iii) Preblasting surveys – use of in blast design 2
      11 Blast-plan requirements 5
      12 Certification and training 1
      13 Signs, warning signals, and site control 4
      14. Unpredictable hazard including Lightening, Stray currents, Radio waves and Misfires 3
      Total 63 27
      Percent 70 30

Available Classroom Training Classes

Training classes are available from explosive suppliers, universities, professional organizations, consultants and states. Blasting apprentices should select training that enhances their technical skills and provides the information necessary to pass the examination. The fundamental training programs are available with individual vendors, explosives manufacturers or blasting service providers.

Scholastic training opportunities include:

  • Bridge Valley Community and Technical College in Montgomery, West Virginia that offers an Associate in Applied Science degree in Blasting Technology
  • Fleming College in Ontario, Canada offers a Blasting Techniques certificate
  • Missouri University of Science and Technology in Rolla, Missouri offers degrees in Explosives Engineering

Blaster Experience

Blasters loading a hole

Blasters loading a hole

The applicant must demonstrate that the appropriate level of experience was obtained within the 3 years prior to certificate application. OSMRE will accept as equivalent all experience gained in activities (see Table 1 above) which reasonably approximate the environment, procedures, blast size, and hazards of surface coal mining. This experience must be obtained by working with explosives or within activities associated with explosives use either inside or outside the coal industry. The necessary amount of experience depends on the type of certificate application.

  • Issuance - worked for 2 years in any capacities as listed in Table 1 (above).
  • Reissuance or renewal - worked for 1 year in any capacities as listed in Table 1 (above).

Page Last Modified/Reviewed: 5/21/15

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